Serendipity Friday

*** Clark County Gen Society REALLY Honors Their Honorees

*** A Really, Truly Great Success (Teaching!) Story

*** WSU Press: Uncommon, Undeniably Northwest Reads

*** Ghost Towns….In WASHINGTON?

*** Today’s Laugh

When I visited my friend Lethene Parks, librarian for the Clark County Gen Society, and she showed me around their library, a wall display really caught my eye. They had framed and proudly displayed the certificates of honor from WSGS awarded to CCGS members! Dear Folks, receiving a Certificate of Merit from WSGS, based on your society’s recommendation, is a Big Deal. And was really a Big Deal to the Clark County folks.


When I found I had early/colonial New York/Dutch ancestors, I went after them! My findings pointed to Ulster County, NY. I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I checked the Library Catalog to see what materials they might hold for Ulster County. I found The Genie, publication of the Ulster County Gen Society. I hauled all the issues they had to a table and spent a happy hour paging through all of them and did find some likely clues. I next determined to contact that society to follow up on the clues.
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Tuesday Trivia

Apparently Washington State has a designated, official, item for more things than you or I would ever guess. Our trivia for the day is this list:

State Bird —  American Goldfinch

State Dance  —  Square Dance

State Fish  —  Steelhead Trout

State Flower  —  Coast Rhododendron

State Folk Song  —  Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

State Fossil  —  Columbian Mammoth

State Fruit  —  Apple

State Gem  —  Petrified Wood

State Grass  —  Blue Bunch Wheatgrass

State Insect  —  Green Damer Dragonfly

State Marine Mammal  —  Orca

State Ship  —  Lady Washington

State Song  —  Washington, My Home

State Tree  —  Western Hemlock

State Vegetable  —  Walla Walla Sweet Onion

How many of these would you have known, had I not included the answers? Do you know of any others???


Monday’s Mystery

At a recent conference in Vancouver, Washington, the theme was “Layers of History” and meaning along the final hundred miles or so of the Columbia River. The first session addressed The Great Ice Age Floods (also known as the Missoula Floods) and I learned just how the cataracts in the coulee areas of central Washington were carved or created. So the mystery question today for you is: HOW were the Dry Falls created? By what term is the process known?  (You perhaps have been to the Dry Falls State Park when going on Hwy 2 between Spokane and Wenatchee?)

And a double delicious WSGS cupcake to Sonji Rutan of the Eastern Washington Gen Society in Spokane. Here’s her comment about Black Pudding:  Isn’t this the same as ‘blood pudding’? I’ve tried it and don’t care for it, but then today’s pallets are perhaps more sophisticated or spoiled then our ancestors.

The above picture may look a teeny bit enticing but NOWAY today. Black Pudding as made from animal blood, mixed with animal fat and then flour, oats, wheat, or whatever grain-thickening they had.

Serendipity Friday

*** Rivels?

*** Daffodils vs Narcissus?

*** Cuspidors in the Washington State Capitol

*** Bicycling in the Early Days

*** Columbia River Gorge: Why Steeper on the North? 


Ever eaten rivels?  Bet your grandparents and beyond surely did. Here is the recipe for Rivels:  “Mix flour and some salt. To this add one drop of water at a time to stir into the flour and salt. Mix well each time water is added. When flour has stirred into “rivels” add them slowly to hot milk. Ladle into bowls and serve with butter and sugar.”  (This was a recipe in my Aunt Ruth’s cookbook saying the got it from her grandmother.) Think you’ll try rivels??? Let me know if you do.


What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus? Not much, according to the good folks at Roozengarde near Mount Vernon. Daffodils and jonquils belong to the narcissus family; daffodils usually have longer trumpets. Narcissus have shorter, flatter, “cups” with often frilly edges. Now you know. (NOW is the time to order tulips and daffodils for fall planting from Roozengarde; call to request their catalog or view online.)


According to the magazine Columbia, publication of the Washington State Historical Society, ” In 1928 the cuspidors for the new Washington State capitol in Olympia cost $47.50 each and no one objected to the spittoons themselves…..every well-equipped office had them at a time when most men chewed…it was the price of them that was shocking.” I guess so!


This from an article in the periodical Clark County History for 2015 titled  “Bicycling in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century,” by Jan Anderson:  “Bloomers are not only not coquettish, but (are) hideously ugly and unbecoming.” (Quoting a New York journalist on women’s bicycling fashions.) Around 1900 “women took to the wheel and protest came from many critics including fashion experts, clergy, society mavens and even medical professionals, who warned ominously of over stress to weak female bodies, juggled reproductive organs and lascivious urges.  A major cause for panic was the need for a new style of women’s clothing: floor-length skirts and tight corsets didn’t make for safe cycling. Part of the answer was biking bloomers which scandalously showed an inch of ankle.” My, my, my but we have come a long way, baby.


Doing some reading on the Great Ice Age Floods, which carved Washington and Oregon, I finally learned why the Gorge is much steeper on the Washington (north) side than the Oregon (south) side. A speaker on that subject at a recent conference I attended in Vancouver, WA, explained that the Washington side is less steep “due to the 15,000 years of land slides and mud slides.” Duh. Yessiree. In some places you can certainly see evidence of those slides.

Tuesday Trivia

Could you identify the oldest apple tree in Washington? It’s in Vancouver, near the waterfront and happily tended and protected by a fence. They say it was planted in 1826…..when I was there I could see sprouts coming up from the roots? Way cool to see that venerable apple tree.

On the topic of apples, fellow named Dave Benscotter has become a self-proclaimed “apple detective” in Eastern Washington, mainly in and around Steptoe Butte (north of Pullman). In his research he found that there were 17,000 named varieties of apples in the past in North America, but “only around 3000 still exist today.” He’s hoping to identify some of these long lost apple varieties from sleuthing around the old orchards planted around Steptoe Butte and in Whitman County. He’s working with the Whitman County Historical Society on the “Lost Apple Project” to search, find, rescue and identify “apple varieties that have become extinct.” Or thought to be so. Google that project for an interesting read.

Monday’s Mystery

In the 1840s at Fort Vancouver (Vancouver, Clark County, Washington), a food delicacy was Black Pudding. What was this? Would you have enjoyed it??


And a great big WSGS calorie-free cupcake to Gary Parfitt who knew that the answer to the previous Mystery was TRUE. According to “Ask Marilyn” in the Sunday Parade Magazine, water runs down a drain either way depending on many factors. Thanks to all who answered but Gary was the first; maybe he’ll share his cupcake with you??


Serendipity “Friday”

Yes, I do know that today is Thursday but tomorrow I’m off to tour the state: Spokane to Vancouver to Moclips to Port Angeles to Everett to Burlington to Spokane! Tiz gonna be grand and I’ll share bits with you. So today is, by default, Serendipity Day!

    *** Geneopardy? Pedigree Pie? 

*** QuirKy Genealogy: Are you signed up?

*** Bethel Cemetery, Steptoe WA

*** Memorial to Lime: Roche Harbor


Ready for some genealogy fun? Really, REALLY fun? Google either of the terms above. Once you’re to the website/program, sign in with your FamilySearch account, and viola! You are ready to play Geneopardy!  The categories are Dates, Places, People, Facts, Other. I picked PLACES for 100 and the question was easy: Which ancestor was born in St.Louis, MO? Four names were given as choices and I knew it was my mom. PEOPLE for 100 was harder: “Which of your ancestors was born during the Third Plague Pandemic?” Again, a choice of four names was given but I had no idea. Pedigree Pie has no questions, just pure fun. Go take a looksee..


Evelyn Roehl, who lives in Seattle, offers a free monthly newsletter simply called Tip Sheet from her website, QuirKy Genealogy. The February 2017 issue offered some really good census-name-finding tips. I do recommend this FREE newsletter to you all.  Send her an email and request being put on her mailing list: 


On the lovely drive north last week from Lewiston, I finally stopped at the little cemetery up on the hill in Steptoe, Whitman County. What a delight! See Steptoe Butte in the background? And have you ever seen a signature on a stone? Or a handmade one like this? (Is that a dachshund??)


“Lime, made by heating limestone to extremely high temperatures, is an age-old chemical that has been used as an ingredient in everything from cement and steel to paper and plaster. In 1886, shortly after a huge ledge of some of the world’s purest limestone was discovered at Roche Harbor (in the San Juan Islands), John S. McMillan established the Tacoma & Roche Harbor Lime & Cement Company. Crushed limestone from a quarter-mile-long quarry was fed into a battery of brick-lined kilns, which created the necessary heat to turn the rock into 200-pound barrels of lime. By 1890, up to 1500 barrels of lime were being produced each day, making this the largest lime works west of the Mississippi and making McMillan a very rich man.”  (Page 166, Washington Curiosities, by Harriet Baskas, 2008)

Spotlight on the Twin Rivers Gen Society

On Saturday, March 25th, I shared a great learning day with the eager members of the Twin Rivers Gen Society down in Lewiston, Idaho. (Yes, Idaho, but they identify with Washington especially as pertaining to things genealogy.) We met in a lovely church basement and the TRGS had enough food to feed 50 folks but only about half that number came (which equals their membership). We shared ideas on the Big 4 genealogy websites (Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, MyHeritage) as well as dozens of useful research and resource websites. I stressed to them that thy major key to success in genealogical research these days is successfully using the Internet.  Here’s a shot of the group:

Please continue reading for some history of Lewiston, and the TRGS, and all about their annual July 4th Walking with Ancestors!

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Tuesday Trivia

You remember how taken I am with smaller museums and historical societies. In fact, I’ve asked that you share a list with me of those that are in your area.  Here are some from near Grand Coulee Dam (for your summer vacation??):

WILBUR……. Big Bend Hx Soc Museum in Wilbur; most popular is the photo room which features a wide assortment of photos of the early town, its neighbors and its pioneer families. Museum vault contains copies of all the old Wilbur Registers dating back to 1889 (available on microfilm). Museum open Saturdays, June through August, 2:00-4:00, or by appointment.

DAVENPORT…. Lincoln Co Museum & Davenport Hx Soc; open 1 May to 30 Sep, 9:00-5:00, Mon through Sat, or by appointment. Website:

COULEE DAM…. Colville Tribal Museum, Founded in 1987, the CTM “provides a valuable link to the rich heritage of the peoples who make up the Colville Confederated Tribes:  the Lakes, Okanogan, Entiat, Chelan, Methow, Moses Columbia, Newpelem, Palouse, San Poil, Nez Perce, Colville and Wenatchi bands.” Open 7 days a week, 8:30-5:00; located in city of Coulee Dam. Website:

Somebody’s ancestors settled these places….were they yours????


*** Banks Lake is 30 miles long by about one mile wide, nearly 25,000 acres of water. Arranged in a north-to-south line across the Columbia River along Banks Lake are the towns of: Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, Electric City, and at the far south end, Coulee City.

Monday’s Mystery

Good morning, Washington (and surroundings)!  Our mystery for today is this: TRUE or FALSE:  Water going down a drain spins one way in the Northern Hemisphere and the opposite way in the Southern Hemisphere. Is this TRUE or FALSE?

A Delicious Calorie-Free WSGS Cupcake to Elsie Deatherage for correctly answering the previous mystery…. how many feet did Mt.St.Helen’s lose in the blast in 1980? The correct answer was 1300 feet. Wowsers, eh? And, as we Eastern Washingtonians know, lots of that ash residue is still findable and/or visable yet today.